Tai chi

Alternate Title

Taijiquan

Synonyms

Martial arts, meditation, mind-body technique, Qi gong, Simplified Tai-Chi Exercise Program (STEP), Sun-style Tai Chi, t'ai chi chih, t'ai chi chuan, tai chi chih, tai chi guan, tai chi quan, taijiquan, tele-exercise program, visual imagery, visualization, yang tai chi.

Background

Tai chi is a system of movements and positions believed to have developed in 12th Century China. Tai chi techniques aim to address the body and mind as an interconnected system and are traditionally believed to have mental and physical health benefits to improve posture, balance, flexibility, and strength.

Many styles of tai chi have developed since the original set of 13 postures. The modern practice of tai chi often includes sequences of slow movements coordinated with deep breathing and mental attention. Specific forms or poses may last from five to 30 minutes. Tai chi is taught in classes or can be practiced alone. Classes often include fewer than 20 people. Instructors guide pupils through movements, encouraging them to keep their bodies stable and upright while shifting weight. A high level of concentration is usually involved, and sessions are intensely focused and quiet. Exercises can also be practiced alone daily for 15 to 20 minutes, often in the morning.

Tai chi is a system of movements and positions believed to have developed in 12th Century China. Tai chi techniques aim to address the body and mind as an interconnected system and are traditionally believed to have mental and physical health benefits to improve posture, balance, flexibility, and strength.

Many styles of tai chi have developed since the original set of 13 postures. The modern practice of tai chi often includes sequences of slow movements coordinated with deep breathing and mental attention. Specific forms or poses may last from five to 30 minutes. Tai chi is taught in classes or can be practiced alone. Classes often include fewer than 20 people. Instructors guide pupils through movements, encouraging them to keep their bodies stable and upright while shifting weight. A high level of concentration is usually involved, and sessions are intensely focused and quiet. Exercises can also be practiced alone daily for 15 to 20 minutes, often in the morning.

Theory

In traditional Chinese medicine, illness may be viewed as the result of imbalance between two opposing life forces: yin and yang. The practice of tai chi aims to reestablish balance creating harmony between body and mind and between the individual and the outside world. It is said that in the 13th Century, Taoist priest Chang San Fang observed a crane fighting with a snake and compared their movements to yin and yang. Some techniques of tai chi were based on movements mimicking these animals.

In modern times, tai chi is a physical exercise that, when practiced regularly, may increase muscle strength. Preliminary scientific evidence suggests that better cardiovascular health, coordination, and balance may occur from regular tai chi practice.

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